Castiel was in a legitimate hurry. A month after their misadventure in Tombstone, one of their leads had finally paid off. Sam and Dean had called him yesterday morning, they were hot on Jack’s trail and hoped to collar him by lunchtime. But Castiel hadn’t heard from them since. Whether they had found their runaway Nephilim or not, it was odd they hadn’t called him with an update, so he was in a hurry to go find them in Rapid City.
Yes, he’d cut a few corners in his car as a result, but he’d made sure there were no mortals on the sidewalk to injure, so no harm done. Had he mentioned he needed to press on?
The policeman must have accepted his argument about the sidewalks, because he was now concentrating on Castiel’s driver’s licenses. Before going their separate ways on their search, Dean had slipped three of them in different names into Castiel’s coat pocket, ‘in case you need ‘em’. In his haste, and not knowing which one the policeman would prefer, Castiel had shoved all three into the man’s hands, and this seemed to occupy a lot of his attention as well as his colleague’s, still in the squad car and talking loudly on the radio.
”- yeah, that’s right, I’m sending you his picture now. He looks like a-”
Castiel was never to learn what the policeman thought he looked like, because an unholy - or rather holy - cacophony of voices suddenly rung out in his head, shaping themselves into one word that made him flinch and bring his hands up to his temples.
“Just a minute,” Castiel said to the policeman asking him a question he couldn’t hear over the ringing in his ears. “Message on the radio.” Addressed to him directly, too. Something told him this was probably not going to be the highlight of his morning.
//You will come to the portal. An escort is waiting for you.//
“An escort straight to Heaven’s dungeon,” Castiel surmised (ignoring the policeman now loudly speculating that Castiel was either on some form of medication or off of it.) He kept the obvious question - ‘Why would I turn myself in? - to himself, he had the feeling he was going to find out any second now.
There was a fluctuation in the channel, and then Castiel’s broken Wings flinched anxiously when he heard a voice he’d been longing to hear for a month now: “Why do you want me to say hello? There’s nobody here. Except for you, but I’ve already met you, and people only say hello when-” the channel went abruptly silent.
“I don’t have the time,” Castiel said to the policeman now vigorously requesting his company. “I have to be three hundred and forty two miles away from here as quickly as possible. You and your fellow officer need to sleep and forget about this now.”
The car was somewhat the worse for wear when Castiel pulled up next to the playground.
Four angels awaited him. He recognized the Seraph leading them, Elisheba. A veteran soldier, tough, ruthless when called for (currently residing, like many of their peers, in the vessel of a small, adorable gray-haired grandmotherly type who must have vigorously believed in angels.)
Castiel did not hesitate as he strode towards them. He had spent most of the drive trying to contact Sam and Dean without success. He’d left them dozens of messages, in the assumption that surely one of them would reach them somehow. If Castiel did not survive the coming day, they would hopefully be able to help Jack.
“Is Jack unharmed?”
Elisheba held out a hand. “Weapon,” she said curtly.
Castiel hesitated only a second, but with no other option, he let his blade fall into his palm and held it out, hilt first. “I surrender. Please tell me if Jack is alright.”
“We have no wish to harm him,” said Elisheba, still professional. The other guards behind her had shown definite signs of relief; Castiel had picked up something of a reputation these past few years...
“Where is he?”
“Follow me and you will see him in a few minutes.”
It had been ages since Castiel had walked in Heaven - and the last time he’d been possessed by Lucifer, so hardly a good memory. As he entered the Garden under guard, he suspected this was probably not going to be a good memory either.
“Jack!” A hand on his shoulder held Castiel back.
Jack was there, he was safe- for now. But surrounded by angels, here in the heart of the Host. What had happened? How had they caught him?
...Why did he look so keen on being here?
Jack was practically vibrating. He had an unusual smile on his face and his eyes were wide and shone with a strange light. Castiel gave his Brethren a suspicious glance.
“Castiel!” Jack took a step towards his guardian, but a few angels appeared between them. There was tension in the air.
Jack’s smile flickered, but he seemed perfectly calm. “Please, can I go talk to him?”
“Later, Jack,” said the angel standing next to him, speaking gently and putting an apparently friendly hand on his shoulder. Castiel recognized him. Barnabas, one of Bartholomew’s one-time colleagues and friends. Not an angel Castiel wanted to see anywhere near his charge. Barnabas was smiling in what he must think was a friendly way, and would be if one were a shark.
“You see?” Elisheba squeezed Castiel’s shoulder. “The Nephilim has not been harmed. We brought you here so he’ll feel safe in his new home.”
“You brought me here as a hostage,” Castiel corrected her softly, so Jack wouldn’t hear.
”...Yes.” Elisheba looked conflicted briefly, then she glanced at Barnabas and her spine went ramrod straight again. “But we don’t want to hurt the boy. Or you. I’m glad you decided to come quietly,” she added, voice dropping some of the icy professionalism. Though they had not been in the same command structure, he and Elisheba had known each other for billions of years, had fought side by side in thousands of battles, and like many in the Host,she must be heartsick of angel on angel violence.
So was Castiel, but if Barnabas hurt Jack, he’d be ready to reconsider.
“Barnabas,” he called out - Elisheba was a good soldier, but she was not a leader. She was second-in-command material, an enforcer. Castiel knew who his adversary here was. “I know what you want Jack to do, but he’s too young, he can’t create new angels-“
“I can!” said Jack with a small smile so luminous it threatened to outshine the Light of Heaven. Castiel felt his Being constrict with love and worry. Oh Jack...
“It’s alright,” Elisheba said quickly. Castiel couldn’t tell if the hand on his shoulder was meant as reassurance or restraint. “We’ve already talked it over with him. The Nephilim feels confident he can do this, here in the Garden, and we agreed that he should start off small and not put himself at risk.”
“Who is ‘we’?” Castiel asked, still looking at Jack’s eager expression.
“Barnabas and I, and some of the others-“
Barnabas then. “Why am I here? To make sure Jack doesn’t change his mind?”
“No, no, Jack wanted you here.” She gave him a rough pat. “He was very insistent. You misunderstand our intentions, Castiel. Once Barnabas found him on Earth and explained our predicament, he was eager to help us. He-“
“Really. Were you there at the time?” Castiel asked caustically. Then he forcefully reminded himself that there was a time he had also been naive and way too trusting of his superiors.
“No, I was searching for you. But look at him, it’s obvious we’ve not pressured him. He wants to help.”
Elisheba sounded sincere. Barnabas, in the meantime, was raising all kind of red flags in Castiel’s mind. How exactly had he forced Jack’s cooperation? By threatening to hunt down and kill his guardians? An obvious tactic, but in that case Jack would be either frightened or furiously lashing out, instead of being so eager to help that he was quivering like a puppy waiting for his 'Go!' to run after a ball.
Castiel looked around desperately, trying to find a friendly face in the crowd. The entire surviving Host was there, staring at Jack hungrily. Nobody was going to advocate for a Nephillim, the son of Lucifer. Nobody except Castiel.
“Barnabas, please. The creation of angels is the province of our Father alone. We have no idea of the consequences - but there is a good chance they will be deadly for Jack. I know we are few, but are we so desperate we will resort to this? To putting an innocent life at risk for the sake of-“
“No, Castiel,” Jack interrupted. “I want to do this. I want to do good.”
Castiel looked away from Barnabas reluctantly. “Jack...it may seem like a good thing, but it could harm you.”
“I need to do it. It’s very important.” Jack’s eyes had a fever-bright ardor that alarmed Castiel for reasons he could not explain. There was no constriction or spell on Jack’s mind that he could sense - what had they done to the boy?
“There. See? Jack wants to cooperate,” Barnabas said with an oily satisfaction that made Castiel’s broken Wings itch. “Now as we discussed, Jack. You can start small. A minor order angel, perhaps, or a couple of cupids.” He actually made his outrageous request sound magnanimous.
“He doesn’t even know how!” Castiel shouted, making Elisheba and his other guards tense.
Once more Jack stared hard at him as if he was trying to tell him something. Jack’s Nephilim nature always seemed to deal Castiel the worst of hands. Like a fellow angel, Jack could not pray to him, being outside the natural order, but neither could he cast his Voice through the Ether yet; he was only a few months old. Why was he so determined to do this?
“Angels!” said Jack firmly, throwing out his hands and closing his eyes.
This was ridiculous! Nobody here, Castiel and Jack included, knew how to create angels. Jack had the raw power, but he surely did not have the knowledge, how could he?
“We have to do this, Castiel,” his one-time comrade said tightly. Her wrinkled lips pinched before she added, “There are so few of us left.” She was decent enough not to add, ‘as you have good cause to know’, but it was in the subtext.
“And maybe one day Jack can help with that, but now? He’s too-“
The eternal sunshine of the Garden flickered.
Castiel blinked, adjusting both his eyes and his higher senses. For a brief flash he’d thought he’d seen a split in the air, a tunnel-
Three pinpoints of light popped into being, like tiny fireflies. What-
The Garden warped and expanded. Hurricane winds ripped through the serene space where God had once walked. Castiel staggered. Even for a celestial Being, the force unleashed was devastating. Several angels around him fell down.
The trees shook. Normal Earth vegetation would have been instantly turned into matchsticks, but the Garden throbbed with dregs of the most primordial energy of Creation itself, and these trees were older than most angels. They stood fast and witnessed something that had not happened in eons.
Castiel winced. Had he been mortal, his eyes would have been smoldering embers by now, but even his angelic senses were suffering beneath the onslaught. He forced himself to watch the shapes taking form- shapes? Why- why were there three lights?!
“Jack! Stop! What are you doing?! Do only one at a time!”
“I’m fixing it!” Jack shouted over the thundering sound.
“At last!” Barnabas stepped towards the lights, triumphant despite the wind making him stagger like a drunk. “Our renewal is at hand!”
Jack slipped behind him and ran towards Castiel.
His guardian caught him by the shoulders protectively- and gasped. Jack’s eyes were blazing gold, so bright it hurt Castiel to look at full on. The hands on Castiel’s upper arms squeezed hard - Castiel’s vessel and Grace both ached with a sudden surge of pain, of pressure, but he ignored it in his panic. Jack hadn’t stopped! He was still bringing about Creation!
“Jack- stop! Whatever you’re doing- this will kill you!”
“It won’t, I know I can do this!” Jack shouted over the noise. “I saw it in your mind! You shared it with me- But I can do better this time! It’s not so hard, not here. This garden is close to that other place. I had to do it, Castiel! They- they died because of me. I had to make it right. Please. Please tell them that I’m sorry, but that I made it right.” Jack tugged at Castiel’s hands urgently.
“What? Who died- Jack?!”
The gold of Jack’s eyes was no longer painful to behold, he was blinking rapidly, swaying...and as Castiel watched, horrified, his ward started to grow ever so slightly transparent. NO!
The winds were falling too. In the Garden, one of the lights suddenly petered and winked out. Barnabas looked back and noticed that Jack was not where he’d left him.
“Keep going!” he snarled.
“Leave him alone, you-...” Castiel had never mastered the art of swearing in the heat of the moment.
“It’s okay,” Jack whispered, his eyes closing. “It’s going to be fine now. I need...next time I’ll know. I’ll learn how to be good. No more deaths. No more mistakes. I...I want to sleep now.” Then he slumped in Castiel’s arms, his essence virtually extinguished - he felt so fragile. Castiel gripped him hard in unreasoning fear that the dying wind might blow him away.
Castiel squinted against the burning light of Creation. Only two angels were taking shape now...but those were no mere Cherubim. The size, the sheer power slowly drawing together...Huge Wings exploded outwards as he watched. And at their sides, stabs of light hotter than welding arcs. Those were Seraph blades taking shape, a part of their Being.
The two Entities shimmered, then transcended into pure Light and Grace and floated down. Near blinded by their creation, Castiel hadn’t noticed two vessels that had appeared beneath them. Light melded into matter and the two new angels started to stir.
Barnabas was gesticulating and practically frothing at the mouth. “They will talk of this day for eons! The day the angels were revived under my guidance! Let a new chapter be written in all the holy books!”
15. And it was so. The Door was made to Open and two New Beings came through the Door and were Made to Be in the Garden of Eden.
16. And as the Light receded, the first of the New Creations spoke.
17. He said: “Son of a BITCH!” (a)
18. And as the Host watched, the second of the New Creations spoke.
19. He said: “Where the fuck are we?” (b)
20. Stepped forward the Seraph Castiel to name the two New Angels of the Host.
21. He said: “Dean? Sam? What is going on here?!”
22. Alas no one could offer an answer, for the New Messiah, Jack Kline, son of the Morning Star, had disappeared.
(a) Translations vary wildly. Scholars of the St John of Lawrence institute refer to it as ‘A curse against the Old World and its wicked proclivities’.
(b) Once again, translations vary, but reference to procreation is generally accepted amongst theologians, linguists and Talmudic scholars, making this a reference to the creation of the New World by the Messiah.
- Excerpt from ‘The New Bible, original unedited translation, with annotated commentary and comparative studies’ by Gertrude Bally-Smith (Prophet of the Lord, circa 2212).